Thursday, October 27, 2011

Get your Time Trial On

When I first arrived in Austin, one of the most fun things I quickly got involved in were the free summer RunFAR time trials on South Mopac. They were a great, short and hard blast on your bike, claimed to be "approximately 8-miles" but measured by various Garmins' as 8.21 and 8.10 miles with a very gradual climb, a turn at the end of Mopac and then a slightly more noticeable descent, followed by a flat section and a very slight uphill finish.

I don't know the full history of the time trials, but RunFAR, Raul and crew had been timing them for 7-years, aside from a great mix of cyclists, triathletes and novices, and bikes of all shapes and sizes, at least in my time two unrelated events stand out. 1. Arrival direct from work one evening and rushing to change with a towel, Des Ficker pulled up next to me in a one piece cycling TT suit, booties and absolutely melting from a combination of the Texas summer heat and effort. She proceeded to talk as if nothing was any different having just clocked a sub-19 minute loop. In the spring of 2010, I bought along a then 20yr old GB triathlon junior who the previous year had stormed to a win at Ironman UK, Phil Graves.

Listed in the results from Dallas TX, Phil was in town from the UK for warm weather training and to race later that month at Galveston in the Lonestar half-iron distance race, which was that year the US Championships. Before him many top local triathletes and cyclists had set and held the record time for the course. In his first attempt, Phil smashed the record averaging over 31MPH for the whole 8-miles! As far as I'm aware, Phil still holds the course record with 15:24.8, 31.2MPH.

This year bought this announcement on the RunFAR web site."NEWS: RunFAR Bike Time Trials Cancelled for 2011. RunFAR has re-directed it's business model and unfortunately is unable to support the monthly bike time trials. Thank you for the 7 years of support!!" - I, like many assumed they had in fact gone, and didn't make any trips down from Round Rock to the Veloway in traffic on a Tuesday to find out.

It turns out that rather than actually gone, a new Austin based timing company, Allsports Timing picked up where RunFAR had left off. Since the name RunFAR was indelibly linked with the TT's and word of mouth had it that they'd been cancelled, turnout for the all new - but over exactly the same course Allsports Timing TT's was been down on prior years.

Allsports have agreed to run one final TT for this year, next Tuesday November 1st with registration starting at 5:30pm, timing running from 6-7pm. There are a few changes, you must sign-up via the facebook calendar entry and it remains free and is still not a race, but a self paced, timed test of your speed.

So, as the triathlon season winds down, why not come out in time to do one, or possibly two timed laps. Give it your best shot. Over the winter you can use your result as your base time with a view to maintaining or improving on for 2012. Lets also take the opportunity to thank Allsports for taking over this unique Austin cycling institution. Questions? ++Mark.

p.s. Yes, I'll be going for my PR, currently at 20:27. See this report of my earlier PR for map, elevation etc. 


No comments: